A Leyland woman has thrown a fund-raising party to raise awareness of the condition that made her faint up to six times a day.
Beth Joyce (27), who suffers from postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, hosted Par-Tea For PoTS at Valley Coffee in Fourfields, Bamber Bridge, this afternoon.
The event has been organised to highlight the condition that left her depressed and housebound as well as raising money for charity PoTS UK. It also marks the first official PoTS Awareness Day.
Sufferers of the illness experience an abnormal and prolonged increase in heart rate after standing up. It is often found in those with an autoimmune condition (occurring when the immune system attacks healthy cells), follows a virus like glandular fever or sometimes presents in pregnancy.
Symptoms occur when the body is unable to adjust to gravity, and include fatigue, light-headedness, heart palpitations, sweating, nausea, fainting and headaches.
Beth, a supervisor at Valley Coffee, said: "I couldn't be happier with how the event has turned out - I've not been able to stop smiling!
"The turnout has been brilliant! People have been asking lots of questions and talking to the trustees of PoTS UK, who came to visit.
"We weren't expecting this volume of people but it's been amazing. I feel overwhelmed by the support for PoTS."
Guests enjoyed delicious afternoon tea while being entertained by singers Lydia Parkinson and Melisa Baydomir. They also played games like Guess the Number of Sweets.
Beth developed PoTS after being struck down with pneumonia while working in Corfu when she was 19-years-old.
When she returned home, her life came to a standstill when she began to develop daily headaches, heart palpitations, brain fog and uncontrollable dizziness. Her diagnosis came after she began to faint without warning, sometimes as often as six times a day, leaving her with injuries like fractures, bruises and black eyes.
She then became house-bound and depressed as she was scared of fainting and ultimately cut herself off from friends and missed numerous university classes.
Despite this, her journey towards diagnosis was fraught with rejections from GPs, who put her symptoms down to tiredness and her age. But she persisted, and an answer came when she saw a specialist and endured gruelling tests at the hospital.
She now takes seven daily medications and still experiences some symptoms. But despite her troubles, Beth was determined to finish her education and ultimately triumphed over her self-doubts by graduating from university.
Dr Lesley Kavi, chairperson of PoTS UK, said Beth's struggles to obtain a diagnosis is all too common. She said local services are failing patients because of a lack of understanding about the condition.
Dr Kavi is part of a team campaigning to put PoTS on the medical map. The charity wants GPs to be trained to help sufferers locally and is losing its fight with both the Government and NHS to alternatively provide national PoTS services.
She said: "Beth's event has been really exciting and I think it's got people buzzing on the internet.
"There are only pockets of medical support and the North-West has been under-served but this event has even helped connect people who couldn't attend and given them a bit of hope that people are willing to learn more about the condition."
For more information about the condition or to make a donation to the charity, please visit www.potsuk.org